Quinn Construction overcomes mental errors in victory
It wouldn't be a stretch to call Quinn Construction coach Tom Simcho a perfectionist when it comes to baseball fundamentals.
So when his Mudcats made a critical error and failed to get down a bunt on a suicide squeeze against Hot Shots Saloon, he wasn't the happiest person at Evans Field.
In the end, though, Quinn Construction (13-3) did more than enough right to pull away in a 7-1 victory that solidified the Mudcats' hold on first place in the Daily News League.
Quinn Construction holds a 1 1⁄2-game lead over defending champion Bowser and has played three more games.
“It wasn't pretty,” Simcho said. “We did some things that I wasn't too thrilled with, that we screwed up, simple things like that.”
Pitcher Brandon Sandusky got the win as he was solid in his four innings of work.
He allowed only one hit, a single to Adam Dodson in the top of the second, and the lone run against him scored in the same inning on a double steal of second and home.
About the only downside to his outing was that it didn't last long enough.
He began to tire a bit when he went out for the fourth inning and was relieved by Jason Milko before Dan Laird came on to work the final two innings for the save.
“When you have somebody like Brandon Sandusky who can come in and throw strikes, that's a definite plus,” Simcho said.
“We've been working on (stretching him out), getting him reps and getting his accuracy down. We had a conversation between the fourth and fifth inning because I was contemplating taking him out, and he said, ‘Well,' and I knew that was all I needed to hear.”
Like most Daily News League teams at this time of the year, Hot Shots Saloon is missing some of its key players because of prior commitments and vacations.
But despite having some of the top players from the South Park team that went undefeated during the regular season and won the WPIAL Class AAA title, it didn't have enough to keep up with Quinn Construction.
Hot Shots Saloon (6-10) dropped to a game behind Carriage Inn for the sixth and final playoff spot.
“This week coming up we have some guys coming back, and we've been scuffling all week, fighting to get nine guys here,” Hot Shots Saloon coach Mike Monaco said. “We have three guys in South Carolina that are regular guys in our lineup that will help us offensively and, pitching-wise, I don't know what we're doing. We're just seeing what we can do and trying to get some arms healthy for the end run here.”
Even with all the former South Park players on Hot Shots, the best one on the field was playing for Quinn Construction as former Eagles and North Carolina State outfielder Tarran Senay opened the scoring with one out in the bottom of the first with a two-run bomb to right-center field off starter Anthony Monaco.
A.J. Olasz nearly went back-to-back, but his rocket to almost the same place hit the crosspiece on top of the fence and bounced back into the field of play for a triple. He scored later in the inning to give the Mudcats a 3-0 lead.
With a 4-1 edge in the bottom of the sixth, Quinn Construction scored three unearned runs on a two-error sacrifice bunt attempt.
“The pitching was great and … I'm looking for excellence,” Simcho said.
“I know they're human, and we make mistakes, and that's going to happen. But once again, we had a makeshift lineup, and we were able to get a ‘W.' ”